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Bookmaker/Punter Anecdotes

Harness & Greyhounds
Episode 1 - The Blind Man

This punter was not blind but had a successful business installing household blinds.

He was unique in that the shorter the price the better. If a horse opened at 1/2 or $1.50 he may have $2k on it.  If it opened at 1/4 or $1.25 he was likely to have $8k on it. If it opened at even money he would shy away from it and not back it at all even if he thought it could win.

So much for requiring value before you bet.

He backed a lot of winners and survived for a long time but I was aware that the corporate bookmakers let him on for unlimited, which would suggest that overall he was a losing punter.


+1 -1

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Comments

  • JayJayJayJay    4,895 posts
    Chariots, did you ever come across "The Riddler"?....middle to late 1970's. He jumped on board the Kersley train (was a good train to be on at that time) and only ever went to GP and the NE tracks (Northam, Cunderdin, York etc) and an occasional journey to Pinjarra. Was an ex Claremont footballer who ended up in Liquor stores. If he spotted a Kersley horse that he thought would run up a picket fence going through the classes, then he stuck to them week in week out, regardless of price, regardless of venue. And he would lace them up....I traveled to a number of meetings with him and he was not shy. One horse that springs to mind was Kiwi Raider and he stuck to it on an amazing  sequence of wins. Used to wander about with the Daily News form guide in his hand and watch Rodney White like a hawk. Also took a liking to Jimmy The Jet around the Johnny Toledo days...burnt Sam Nicholaides one night when Johnny beat Typhson who was odds on. Don't know where he ended up but he was always pretty cashed up.

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  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,636 posts
    Just prior to my time JayJay but Rodney White was the go to man as far as the FRK horses were concerned in that era.

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  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,636 posts
    edited April 2
    Episode 2 - Dollar for Dollar

    There was a very prominent trainer in the 80s and 90s that sought out punters that would match him dollar for dollar if he backed one of his team.

    It worked like this, the trainer would declare one and put $1000 on it so the punter had to match that and then get his own.

    The scenario was that over a period if he declared 4 @ 6/4 or $2.50 and only two won the trainer would have outlayed $4000 and returned a profit of the same amount. The poor old punter if he had $2000 on it for himself would have outlayed $12,000  ($1k for the trainer and $2k for himself on each runner) and broken square. To show a profit the punter needed a better strike rate or better prices and that was hard to come by.

    The trainer actually approached me with the proposition but I had done the math and politely declined.

    I detected that many punters fell for it but doubt any finished in front
  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,636 posts
    edited April 4
    Episode 3 - 2000 miles away

    Fielding at Collie in the late 70s and also betting on what may have been the Legends Mile at Moonee Valley. 

    The Moone Valley race appeared to be a match race between Pure Steel and Rip Van Winkle who was flying at the time. Rip Van Winkle galloped from the mobile and virtually took no part in the race and Pure Steel won easily.

    A fellow bookmaker, known for his dry one liners, wandered over after the race and said "We are 2000 miles from Moonee Valley but every punter here knew that Rip Van Winkle was going to take no part in the race".

    At the time I thought that the fact that Pure Steel was a WA champion with an enormous following may have had more to do with it, but it was more prudent to keep those thoughts to myself.

    Incidentally Rip Van Winkle had 74 starts for 50 wins and just shy of $300k in stakes. Not a bad record.
  • Ridersonthestorm33Ridersonthestorm33    8,243 posts
    edited April 4
    Use to fascinate me how fast you bookies could work out a bet at say $25 @11/8....now I can work that out, but just give me ten minutes...yet bookies would know it in a flash...um now let's see that's $110 to $80 - so $55 to $40 - $27.50 to $20...now am lost! Different ways of doing fractions. But you needed to be good at it and fast you on course bookmakers.

    That's why would never put bets like that on - as a simpleton I liked to know what was due back before placing the bet.

    Not that didn't trust the bookies to have it correct!

    Some bookies were lightning fast on the fraction type bet. Always thought was remarkable.

  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,636 posts
    I had a clerk who was an expert at it. Could call a bet in seconds.

    When we went to computer he really struggled to call the venue horse number and amount of the bet in that order.

    Other clerks who were hopeless at fractions made the transition with ease.

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  • MarkovinaMarkovina    979 posts
    Talking about bookies - this many years ago - but there was a high profile bookie in Sydney lived in Vaucluse ( similiar to Dalkeith )  who went bankrupt - and in the paper they listed all his creditors - basically all the punters who he owed money to - one notable one - the honourable R J Hawke ( who used to make me sick how he would weasel his away around the mounting yard getting tips from various trainers ) about $18000 he owed Hawke

    Anyhow a couple of months before he went belly up - he was fielding in the Interstate Trots ring on a Sat night out at the Harold Park Dogs ( he would have been fielding at gallops in the afternoon )

    To show how bad he was going ( and he was a well presented bloke ) their was trots race at Moonee Valley - and i was  only putting on small bets for an interest . The fave was 6/4 - the one i liked was 7/2 . On the 2nd call the fave was out to 2/1 so i said i will have $20 on the 7/2 pop - 10 seconds later it got called over at 5/2 - he said to me - you knew it was going to tighten - your getting $50 to $20  - thats it - we debated it for a minute or 2 - but thats how ordinary he was going at the time

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  • MarkovinaMarkovina    979 posts
    Forgot to say the bookies name - Roger Manning
  • savethegamesavethegame    1,101 posts
    Know a few punter stories, this one way before my time as told to me by my uncle who was involved with four of his mates,they worked out how to back the winner 12 o'clock on saturday at a sp.betting shop.i

    They positioned one of them directly in  front of the s.p bookie and was betting with him prior  to midday this bookie would . only listened to the abc & he would wait for the race to be replayed after the midday news but kept betting on the race until replay began with only ones in front of him.

    Meanwhile two blocks away .a  kid listening to another radio station then relayed the winning number by voice to another kid who wrote the winning number on piece of cardboard and handed it to a kid on a bike who then as fast as hell rode past the s.p shop with young fella who positioned himself to see the number and casually backed the winner with bookie and sometimes they back two n the race not to set alarm bells.

    Two of the young blokes were apprentice butchers,every Monday there boss would ask how did you go we got him again was the reply went on for months

    Until one Monday a new starter at the butcher shop overheard them telling the butcher ,and she piped up that will be the last time that happens as her dad was the bookie bill peachy.

    It didn't mean they won every Saturday purely the fact the midday winner was theres was told they had approx.seven- ten minutes to get it done

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  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon    1,278 posts
    The best runner of the Bookmakers sheets down to the stewards room I ever met passed away last night.
    Pleasure to watch him and the pride and diligence with which he circled the betting ring  post race at the GMTC back in the day and set off with purpose to get the job done.

    At its best harness racing is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Condolences STG and RIP Stevie Bee
  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,636 posts
    Episode 4 - Over The Odds

    Champion filly Whitbys Miss Penny was in a heat of a fillies race at GP against vastly inferior opposition and had drawn barrier 1.

    The Bookmakers Boards at that time had a lowest price of 1/10 and I was not prepared to give away free money at that price so I made a sleeve showing 1/100 and put it next to Whitbys Miss Penny's name.

    A bookie across the other side of the ring renowned for doing no form and being a follower interpreted my 1/100 as EVENS and duly put that price up.

    There was a stampede and Rodney White showed much more pace than he ever did when playing for West Perth was first on.  I am unsure how much he got on but whatever it was it was a bargain.

    Whitbys Miss Penny bolted in and the even money was probably the biggest overs ever bet at Gloucester Park.
  • ciscocisco    677 posts
    Super work Chariots - keep them coming!!

    Cheers cisco

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  • Ridersonthestorm33Ridersonthestorm33    8,243 posts
    edited April 5
    Who was behind printing and putting up that great big poster in the bookies ring - got the shock of my life - stretched out a fair way with words to the effect of - "Come and bet with us, we were silly enough to bet 12/1 about a champion in Westburn Grant".

    Was a Pacing Cup series think whereby everything went wrong for Westburn Grant, he opened up favourite on arriving but never stopped drifting and eventually started at double figures and won comfortably.

    With hindsight many were asking, how did that champ start at double figures ?

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  • JayJayJayJay    4,895 posts
    Being self indulgent here but 25/1 about Gleaming on May 1978 was a good as I ever saw.

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  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,636 posts

    Who was behind printing and putting up that great big poster in the bookies ring - got the shock of my life - stretched out a fair way with words to the effect of - "Come and bet with us, we were silly enough to bet 12/1 about a champion in Westburn Grant".

    Was a Pacing Cup series think whereby everything went wrong for Westburn Grant, he opened up favourite on arriving but never stopped drifting and eventually started at double figures and won comfortably.

    With hindsight many were asking, how did that champ start at double figures ?

    Riders I will claim responsibility for the poster not the price bet. One of our part time bookies got a bee in his bonnet and kept extending the price on Westburn Grant.

    I thought it would be a good idea to make up the poster to promote bookies prices and the fact that you remember it I assume it worked.
  • Ridersonthestorm33Ridersonthestorm33    8,243 posts
    edited April 7
    Absolutely - can forget things that happened yesterday but won't forget that - was approaching the betting ring well before the first race - and could see this good sized poster - never seen anything like it before or since! Never will.

    First thoughts would have been - just what is that saying ?! Did leave an impression that's for sure - must have just been the unusualness of it is why the memory remained.

    Don't recall alot about that Pacing Cup series - ( ran three heats before final ? ) do remember Westburn Grant forging away from them in the final though, think he drew about 7 or 8 barrier ?

    The two things definitely recall are he was a massive drifter in the betting, it was more than alarming and yes that poster a week later adorning the bookies ring.

    At the end of the day 12/1 said it all. ( For a champion).
  • MarkovinaMarkovina    979 posts
    When Bookmaker rings had a bit of atmosphere - there was a bookie at Harold Park a bloke about 55 with a big strong deep voice

    He would be up on his stand - thus higher than you and looking down at you - and in a strong confident voice he would yell out continually

    " Board odds i lay - who knows them -  who knows them - Board odds i lay "

    In other words - come on all you suckers - bet with me - because im going to win and all you lot are going to lose - lol

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  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,636 posts
    There was a bookie that fielded in Victoria, mainly at the gallops, who consistently bet top odds the outsiders and did not lay horses in the market. General quote may be 33/1 and he would bet 50/1 or 66/1.

    The Bookmakers Fidelity Fund became a bit concerned with the risks he was taking and the possible impact on the fund.

    They called him in for an interview and his response was to bring in a suitcase full of money. His strategy must have been working.

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  • Ridersonthestorm33Ridersonthestorm33    8,243 posts
    Still reckon you guys bet better odds on fancied runners those days - these days a lot of the short ones are way too short. Marvellous how often they get rolled.
  • ciscocisco    677 posts
    edited April 7
    Chariots I think that bookie over here was Ray Boundy.

    Cheers cisco

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  • JayJayJayJay    4,895 posts
    edited April 7
    If punters/enthusiasts actually attended the tracks...that is in person, on course....then maybe we might still have a bookmaker presence. Steve Mulhall was there for a few meetings a while back...aside from the "theme nights"....New Year, Chinese, Italian etc, there was no one to bet with him. I don't know what his turnover was but he should have bought a novel to read. I had one in race 10 on Friday night, there wouldn't have been 30 people outside on the terrace/grass area watching. And there weren't a whole lot more for Race 1. And it was Derby night for goodness sake. A great traditional race and a great field. was there any marketing, promotion, free tickets in shopping centres next to a large TV showing replays, is there a marketing department...I don't know, just asking. There were a bunch of young blokes on the sauce in front of JP's, betting turnover probably zilch, drinking turnover high, they were off and gone into the night by race 8. Connections and trainers come up to watch from the stabling are but when they leave post race, there aren't too many around. The were packing up the optimistically laid out tables and chairs on the lawn after race 8. Upstairs, there was your smattering of die hard members but they won't live forever, so what then. I had time between race 3 and 10 to have a good look around on Friday night and for Derby Night, like Pacing Cup Night, the on course turn out was abysmal.  How many of the "regulars" on PTT actually go to the meetings. I see VK there every week but maybe the lure of the couch, the mobile phone and TAB touch accounts rule these days.
    I have to admit to being bemused by "expert opinion" and criticism of everything from odds offered to...well, you name it.... being served up by many on here that probably have seen a live race in years.
    To finish on a positive, the Guiness Beef Pie upstairs with every vegetable known to man for $10 bucks was outstanding.

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  • Ridersonthestorm33Ridersonthestorm33    8,243 posts
    edited April 7
    When attended the trots - watched as many races on the TV on track as i did the grass area - quite often moving between both when the race was on.

    Whether being on course or not - don't think is a requirement to know something about the game. John Hawkes for a long time has very rarely attended race meeting's - his opinion is pretty valid. Lyoyd Williams another - they both know a bit about the racing game.

    They've been to the track more times than we've had bets - the fact they rarely go now doesn't diminish their knowledge one iota.
  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,636 posts
    Very little incentive to go on course these days unless you like to see the horses in the flesh in either equine code.

    Prior to the advent of Corporate Bookmakers the only way punters could access an accurate market to assist with tote or exotic betting was to be on course.

    Nowadays any punter with access to a computer has all of this information at his finger tips. 

    Exotic value has diminished as a result.


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  • MarkovinaMarkovina    979 posts
    JayJay said:

    If punters/enthusiasts actually attended the tracks...that is in person, on course....then maybe we might still have a bookmaker presence. Steve Mulhall was there for a few meetings a while back...aside from the "theme nights"....New Year, Chinese, Italian etc, there was no one to bet with him. I don't know what his turnover was but he should have bought a novel to read. I had one in race 10 on Friday night, there wouldn't have been 30 people outside on the terrace/grass area watching. And there weren't a whole lot more for Race 1. And it was Derby night for goodness sake. A great traditional race and a great field. was there any marketing, promotion, free tickets in shopping centres next to a large TV showing replays, is there a marketing department...I don't know, just asking. There were a bunch of young blokes on the sauce in front of JP's, betting turnover probably zilch, drinking turnover high, they were off and gone into the night by race 8. Connections and trainers come up to watch from the stabling are but when they leave post race, there aren't too many around. The were packing up the optimistically laid out tables and chairs on the lawn after race 8. Upstairs, there was your smattering of die hard members but they won't live forever, so what then. I had time between race 3 and 10 to have a good look around on Friday night and for Derby Night, like Pacing Cup Night, the on course turn out was abysmal.  How many of the "regulars" on PTT actually go to the meetings. I see VK there every week but maybe the lure of the couch, the mobile phone and TAB touch accounts rule these days.
    I have to admit to being bemused by "expert opinion" and criticism of everything from odds offered to...well, you name it.... being served up by many on here that probably have seen a live race in years.
    To finish on a positive, the Guiness Beef Pie upstairs with every vegetable known to man for $10 bucks was outstanding.
    I use to go to plenty of meetings - however when Nick Greiner negoitated the deal - so the race vision was put in theTABs - and then in homes through Pay TV i stopped going

    Before that - i use to go the Syd gallops and enjoyed it - however race clubs are the most miserable baarstards put on this earth

    When i use to go to Randwick - there was a cafateria - sit in where you could get a meal - hot  meat and vegetables - i use to say allways  to  the women serving i will have double vegetables and pay for them - because they were so lousy with the portions

    Race clubs - they are so lousy - they can go to bugggery - i can sit in the comfort of my home and watch everything - i can flick channels and watch any sport i want - a great nights entertainment - who would bother going to the track
  • JayJayJayJay    4,895 posts

    Very little incentive to go on course these days unless you like to see the horses in the flesh in either equine code.


    Perhaps, not perhaps, I'll rephrase that, probably 100% correct but there is still, for me, nothing like being at the track. You see and hear all sorts of things that are not available from the couch...call it the theatre, atmosphere, access or whatever. Things like you could actually here the tyre letting ago on Browny's horse (very loudly) in the Derby, you could sense what Jnr was doing in firing up Franco Edward (superb drive by the way), you would have observed one of Rider's favourite "barrier 1" horses that got super stirred up when another horse backed up into it  whilst they were circling prior to the score up and was no chance for it to settle from that point, all bets off,  you can watch the super preliminary from I'm Soxy and would have doubled your bet, watching them parade in the birdcage and trying to work out who looks cherry ripe like Rosies, watching Campora break and listening to all the commentary/debate as to whether anyone was at fault, watching and rewatching the replay to see whether The Artform had cleared him prior to crossing, checking out who pulled up having a bit of a blow, who might be improved by the run or who you think might have had enough....all manner of things that you don't get in the miserable 3 or 4 minutes of "air time" provided for each race, either on Sky or TAB radio, given the ridiculously crowded schedule of betting on far away races in South Africa or Whykickamoocow that very few give a fig about.  I dunno, I can't understand why you wouldn't want to be on course....and especially at the country meetings with the more relaxed community feel about them. Sure, everyone can be very well informed via TV from their couch but for mine, I rarely if ever regret making the effort to get trackside, wherever and whenever I can. My one fear is that there may well be no one to talk to other than the trainers, drivers or other owners going forward unless there is some effort put into promotion....it is a good venue Gloucester Park, the catering side of things is in my view far from miserable, the opposite in fact (with plenty of vegies Marko), the bar prices are more than fair if that is your thing, access to the Birdcage and trainers and drivers is very accommodating but I acknowledge that it will take some effort to move the couch watchers from their positions of comfort and convenience.

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  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,636 posts
    Having virtually lived on racecourses for 30 years I now go on course about once a month and rarely venture to country meetings.

    I am obviously biased but the lack of atmosphere that was generated by vibrant bookmakers rings detracts from the on course experience.

    I am living in the past but those days are long gone and will never return.
  • MarkovinaMarkovina    979 posts
    JayJay said:

    Very little incentive to go on course these days unless you like to see the horses in the flesh in either equine code.


    Perhaps, not perhaps, I'll rephrase that, probably 100% correct but there is still, for me, nothing like being at the track. You see and hear all sorts of things that are not available from the couch...call it the theatre, atmosphere, access or whatever. Things like you could actually here the tyre letting ago on Browny's horse (very loudly) in the Derby, you could sense what Jnr was doing in firing up Franco Edward (superb drive by the way), you would have observed one of Rider's favourite "barrier 1" horses that got super stirred up when another horse backed up into it  whilst they were circling prior to the score up and was no chance for it to settle from that point, all bets off,  you can watch the super preliminary from I'm Soxy and would have doubled your bet, watching them parade in the birdcage and trying to work out who looks cherry ripe like Rosies, watching Campora break and listening to all the commentary/debate as to whether anyone was at fault, watching and rewatching the replay to see whether The Artform had cleared him prior to crossing, checking out who pulled up having a bit of a blow, who might be improved by the run or who you think might have had enough....all manner of things that you don't get in the miserable 3 or 4 minutes of "air time" provided for each race, either on Sky or TAB radio, given the ridiculously crowded schedule of betting on far away races in South Africa or Whykickamoocow that very few give a fig about.  I dunno, I can't understand why you wouldn't want to be on course....and especially at the country meetings with the more relaxed community feel about them. Sure, everyone can be very well informed via TV from their couch but for mine, I rarely if ever regret making the effort to get trackside, wherever and whenever I can. My one fear is that there may well be no one to talk to other than the trainers, drivers or other owners going forward unless there is some effort put into promotion....it is a good venue Gloucester Park, the catering side of things is in my view far from miserable, the opposite in fact (with plenty of vegies Marko), the bar prices are more than fair if that is your thing, access to the Birdcage and trainers and drivers is very accommodating but I acknowledge that it will take some effort to move the couch watchers from their positions of comfort and convenience.
    How i look at it - Jay Jay - when you are a lot younger you are alot keener ( or it is  in my case )

    Pre pay tv and pre - race vision in the TABs - i use to catch the train on a Monday night ( and it was a fair way out- and i was working at the time  ) to either Bankstown or Fairfield Trots  - they use to alternate on Monday nights - there was a 20 strong bookies ring at either venue - and i enjoyed going . Both tracks you could watch the horses parade in the birdcage and that

    Wouldnt do that for quids today though - on the train - you would either get bashed - or somebody would try to blow it up -lol

    But i can see your point of view - your an owner and like going to see how they go - and good luck to you

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  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,636 posts
    Just an aside to Episode 4 - Over The Odds there was a similar but intentional deception in the Ascot Ring.

    One form bookmaker was sick and tired of other bookies who did no form following his prices so he switched the horse names for horses one and two on his board.

    Not sure of the prices but let's say No 1 10/1 and No 2 was Evens. He put up the correct prices for each horse and a bookie across the other side of the ring copied but the prices but were against different horses on his board.

    Not well received but a lesson learnt that you need to have some idea what you are doing or you will be caught out.
  • Ridersonthestorm33Ridersonthestorm33    8,243 posts
    edited April 8
    Chatiots can you recall, it was in the newspaper's of the time - that their was a little concern with punter's complaining that Bookmaker's were taking too long to put up prices after the previous race for the next race ?

    Just remember reading something about that frustration - may have been more the races.

    The funny thing is now odds go up like on a Wednesday for a Saturday!! But sometimes bookies on track were a little tad off the mark to get the odds up.
  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,636 posts
    Riders that it why they introduced the system that a designated bookmaker had to put up the prices according to their stand number.

    It stopped some bookies sweating on those that were prepared to put up their prices.

    The Stewards and Betting Supervisor knew the system and supported it but the Betting Supervisor had to remind certain bookies to follow up in a timely fashion.
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